Book Review: Mistletoe Cottage

Mistletoe Cottage (Harmony Harbor #1)
Published By: Forever
Publication Date: October 25, 2016
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher via NetGalley
Audience: Adult - Contemporary, Christmas

Sophie DiRossi has been running from her past for seven years, but a tragic accident sends her running back to Harmony Harbor, Massachusetts. She isn't sure she can handle being back in her hometown with so many memories lurking around every corner and the very real possibility that the secret of her daughter's father will come out. She's done so much to keep the past hidden that she's terrified of what will happen if Mia's parentage comes to light. Sophie also can't stop the pang she feels every time she thinks of Liam Gallagher, the one who got away. Unfortunately for Sophie, Liam seems to be every direction she turns.

Liam hasn't forgotten Sophie either. He had a huge crush on her growing up, but since she was younger and the sister of his best friend, he felt like she was off limits. He wishes he had just been honest and told her how he felt before everything went wrong and she fled to California. Seeing her back in Harmony Harbor stirs up his old feelings and he can't help being drawn to her. He also finds himself enamored with Mia, who seems smitten with him as well. Liam isn't the sort to do serious romantic entanglements, but he might be willing to take the plunge if it means keeping Sophie and Mia in his life. The course of true love never runs smooth; Liam and Sophie are in for a bumpy ride. 

Aside from the romance brewing between Sophie and Liam, the novel also focuses on Greystone Manor, the large estate by the sea that is owned by Liam's family. His great grandmother, Colleen, lives to be over 100 and she has ruled the estate with an iron fist. She has fought off the offers from various developers who would tear apart her home and build condos in its place. She hires Sophie as the estate's manager in the hopes that a young mind and a new set of eyes can come up with plans to save the estate. Things take a slight turn for Colleen when she finds herself dead, but in true Colleen fashion, she sticks around to push things in the right direction. Being a ghost has its perks after all. This element doesn't play a major role in every chapter, but I liked Colleen's appearances.

There is a strong emphasis on family that runs throughout this novel. I loved the complicated relationships between the Gallaghers and DiRossis.  My favorite aspect was watching the various siblings interact as the story unfolded.Aside from the interactions within the families, it was also interesting to watch the two families interact. I'm curious to know more about what started the issues between Rosa and Kitty. 

It's also impossible to read this one without finding a bit of Christmas spirit along the way. This is my first experience with a Debbie Mason novel, but I plan to visit Harmony Harbor again and will probably also read her Christmas, Colorado series.

One Last Gripe: I didn't always like Sophie, but I had warmed up to her by the end.

Favorite Thing About the Book: The characters

First Sentence: Sirens wailed, the fire engines' red and white light bouncing off clapboard Colonials on Main Street.

Favorite Character: Liam

Least Favorite Character: Maura

Sophie DiRossi loved growing up in Harmony Harbor. But after fleeing in disgrace many years ago, it is the last place she wants to be. Left homeless by a fire, she's forced to go back to the small coastal town that harbors a million secrets, including her own. Sophie sees this secret reflected every day in her daughter's blue eyes-and she must keep it hidden from the only man she has ever loved.

Sophie's return is a shock for everyone . . . especially Liam Gallagher. The firefighter had some serious feelings for Sophie-and seeing her again sparks a desire so fierce it takes his breath away. Now Liam will do whatever it takes to show Sophie that they deserve a second chance at love, even if everything they've concealed threatens to keep them apart. In this special town at this special time of the year, Sophie and Liam can only hope for a little holiday magic...